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Pootie Tang
(2001 Film)

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Pootie Tang (2001):  If only ALL superhero movies were this fun...and funny!  You don't even have to be into "black" humor to get a real kick out of this movie.  You DO need to be an older teenager or adult, though, or you really won't understand much of the satire.  It's not for little kids.  The title of this film alone should give you a clue to that.  Content wise, I don't think it's so bad for young kids to see.  It's PG-13; could've been PG.  However, there is a lot of innuendo and social spoofing that most children couldn't really appreciate.  This movie is for the grown-ups.  It's straight comedy, no drama and not even a big focus on action or special effects...a spoof on the live-action superhero genre and MAINLY on the entire phony soul pop-culture of the 1990s-2000s.  Before this film, Pootie Tang was a popular character on the sketch-comedy TV series "The Chris Rock Show".  In fact, many of this film's players are from the "Chris Rock Show" including Chris Rock, Lance Crouther, Mario Joyner, and Wanda Sykes.  There are others from that show with smaller roles in this film, but those mentioned have major roles.

    Lance Crouther as Pootie Tang really brings this character to brilliant, hilarious life.  You have here a character that is definitely a jab at R&B singers like Puff Daddy (or whatever he's called this week) among others.  The whole idea that everything Pootie Tang does amazes people and becomes a sensation is definitely a satire on all the heavy hype that denizens of MTV receive.  The writers take that one step further and make Pootie Tang a crimefighter.  He has no secret identity...Pootie Tang is Pootie Tang.  His weapon of choice is his belt.  As his late Daddy once said:  "You can whoop anyone's a** with just that belt!".  Among his many quirks, the most profound is that you can never understand what Pootie Tang is trying to say.  Everything he says is really sophisticated jive talk.  As we're told, he was born that way.

    Like any superhero movie, we're given a background on our hero's history.  It's funny to see little Pootie Tang and Trucky.  And we also get to see Daddy Tang (one of Chris Rock's three roles in this movie) along with Mommy Tang.  And it seems he had a strong effect on grown women from the cradle...a regular player!  Orphaned at an early age (don't worry, they make it funny), Pootie Tang grows up to be a multi-talented superstar.

    What really catches your attention in this movie is all the funny characters and their names.  The main villain is Dick Lecter (you'd definitely have to be a teenager or older to get that joke), a corporate giant who wants to get rich by corrupting America's youth.  He first wants to buy off Pootie Tang, then he wants Pootie Tang ruined, and ultimately killed.  Robert Vaughn plays Dick Lecter, and he's great at these type of comedy roles.  He's a really sinister character that's still funny.  But the FUNNIEST villain has to be Dirty Dee.  Reg E. Cathey plays this hilarious character.  He's a ruthless hired thug, a throwback to 1970s pimpdom with typical outfit and Cadillacs/Edsels, and a fascination with dirt.  He even has a troop of dirty white women.  He's not a druggie, his "drug of choice" as it were is dirt.  He doesn't like being clean.  "Oh man, that's some good dirt," you'll hear him elate when his henchman Froggy slips him a chunk of dirt in prison.

    And Froggy, played by J.D. Williams, is funny, too.  Another great character is the drug-dealer Chuck Jeffreys as Bad Bitty...but we only see him in the beginning scenes of the movie.  He's all bad and stuff until Pootie whacks his behind with his belt.  But we should not forget Jennifer Coolidge as Ireenie.  She's Dick Lecter's woman for hire, a real vamp, who's downright freaky and forceful with men.  Ireenie is like Pootie Tang's kryptonite.  She's the one who gets Pootie's famous belt away from him.  Then, like in most superhero films, we have the part of the movie where the hero loses his powers and has to find himself before taking on the bad guys once again.  I am a HUGE FAN of Jennifer Coolidge.  I've been a fan of hers since the outstanding sketch comedy show "She TV" from 1994 on ABC-TV.  She's funny, attractive, and I hope she keeps making movie and TV appearances for a long time to come.  The shows that have been giving her the biggest attention from viewers and critics alike are the "Legally Blonde" movies.  Good for her!

    And of course you have Pootie's buddies.  I like all of them.  Trucky (played by J.B. Smoove) is wacky funny.  He was a good choice to play Pootie's main man.  Then you have Chris Rock as J.B. and Mario Joyner as Lacey.  J.B. is the one who always over-embelishes everything, and Lacey is the one who simply restates the obvious...over and over.  Lacey's function is minimal, but it's funny because he always drives J.B. nuts!  And Wanda Sykes as Biggie Shorty is also real funny.  She's a typical jive mama, and has a fascination of wearing hooker clothes and hanging around hookers on the street...although she is in no way a prostitute.  Biggie Shorty is a club owner and popular personality in the ghettos.  She's also the woman who wants Pootie the most...but he plays hard to get because she wants permanancy...and Pootie likes to tomcat around.

    Surprisingly funny is TV host Bob Costas, who plays himself, hosting the show that Pootie Tang is guesting.   I never would have guessed that he'd have a sense of humor appropriate for a spoof, but he IS funny.  He's also supposed to be a longtime fan of Pootie Tang, which is hilarious.  Another role that's funny, albeit small, is that of Michelle Robinson who plays the "Jilted Woman" at Pootie's club.  She comes on a bit too strong for Pootie and although she looks hot, he turns her down cold.  She even resorts to drinking milk out of a bowl like a cat.  "Give a girl something!" she cries.  Too funny for words!

    Last, but not least, is Chris Rock once again as the Radio DJ who plays Pootie's latest single and gets overly excited.  "Oooo!  Pootie good!  Pootie good!".  You can always count on Rock to play those funny high-strung types of characters.  I really enjoyed this movie and thought it was incredibly funny.  The kind of people that would get the biggest charge out of this film are those that are NOT into contemporary R&B or popular-culture, although I think fans of those things would still find all these performances amusing.  If you want to see something that will make you laugh, watch "Pootie Tang".